Lime kiln and associated quarries 330m west of Toft Gate Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020890

Date first listed: 28-Jan-2003


Ordnance survey map of Lime kiln and associated quarries 330m west of Toft Gate Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Harrogate (District Authority)

Parish: Bewerley

National Grid Reference: SE 13011 64397


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from at least Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has also been used as agricultural fertiliser and, since the early 19th century, widely used in a variety of other industries: as a flux in blast furnaces, in the production of gas and oil, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The lime industry is defined as the processes of preparing and producing lime by burning and slaking. The basic raw material for producing lime is limestone or chalk: when burnt at high temperature (roasted or calcined), these rocks release carbon dioxide, leaving `quicklime' which, by chemical reaction when mixed with water (`slaking'), can be turned into a stable powder - lime. Lime burning sites varied in scale from individual small lime kilns adjacent to a quarry, to large-scale works designed to operate commercially for an extended market and often associated with long distance water or rail transport. Lime burning as an industry displays well-developed regional characteristics, borne out by the regional styles of East Anglia, West Gloucestershire or Derbyshire. The form of kilns used for lime burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small intermittent clamp and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns that could satisfy increased demand from urban development, industrial growth and agricultural improvement. Small-scale rural lime production continued in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but this period of the industry is mainly characterised by large-scale production and the transfer of technologies from the cement and other industries. The demand for mortars grew steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The successful production of mortars made with artificial cement represented an economic challenge to lime production and gradually replaced the use of lime mortars in major construction and engineering projects. From a highly selective sample made at national level, around 200 lime industry sites have been defined as being of national importance. These have been defined to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

The remains of the lime kiln and associated quarries 330m west of Toft Gate Farm survive extremely well. The kiln itself is a very rare design and demonstrates clearly the method of its working. In addition, the earlier prospecting pits retain important information about the wider lime and lead industry in the area. Taken as a whole the monument is important for understanding changes and developments in the 19th century commercial lime industry.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes standing, buried and earthwork remains of a 19th century lime kiln, flue, chimney and associated quarries. Also included are remains of earlier quarries and prospecting pits and workings for both limestone and lead. The monument is located on the eastern flank of Greenhow Hill, 330m west of Toft Gate Farm. The majority of the monument lies within an enclosure fenced for public presentation of the kiln complex. There has been widespread extraction and processing of lime in the area since medieval times when it was used for improving soil, for the manufacture of mortar and plaster and as a building material. The late 18th and 19th centuries saw an increase in demand for lime and technological advances were made to create large scale commercial kilns. Little is currently known about the history, ownership and management of the Toft Gate kiln. It is known that the Ingleby family held limestone rights in the area from the early 17th century and lead mining rights from 1785. Maps dating from the 19th century to the present day show extensive quarrying, shafts and at least two other lime kilns on the hillside. Analysis of population records of local settlements has identified a number of individuals in the area who were connected with the lime industry although as yet none of these can be linked directly to the Toft Gate kiln. The kiln complex does not appear on the first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1854. The map does however show parts of the area of the monument being occupied by quarry workings, some remains of which can still be identified. An enclosure map of 1867 also fails to depict the kiln but it does refer to the existing quarry workings as a public quarry. By 1895 the lime kiln appears on the OS map although the detail is unclear. From map evidence and the development of lime production technology elsewhere the kiln has been dated to the late 1860s. By 1909 the OS map shows the complex in detail and includes features such as the kiln, flue, chimney and quarries. It has been reported that the last wagon load of lime left the site in the first few years of the 20th century. The Toft Gate kiln was a continuous burn, dual feed, vertical furnace kiln. This allowed for continuous production of lime. The flue and chimney improved efficiency and vented fumes. It appears to have been an experimental design as no similar examples of this style dating to this period are known elsewhere. Some elements of the design can be found at other lime kilns such as the Hoffman kiln at Ingleton and also at lead smelting sites of which there were many local examples. The kiln was a tall, square stone built structure with a central circular shaft. Crushed limestone was fed into the top of the shaft and the fuel, most likely coal, was passed into the shaft lower down to create a burn zone or firing level in the mid-section of the shaft. The resultant burnt lime and coal ash was then extracted from the bottom of the kiln. The kiln survives almost completely. It was built in the western side of a deep pre-existing quarry pit so that the lower parts of the south western and north western sides of the kiln were built against bedrock and the other two sides were free standing. The top of the kiln is approximately at the same level as the top of the quarry face. The kiln was built of a mixture of sandstone and limestone blocks, many of which are held in place by iron ties. The quarry has been used to tip material throughout the 20th century with the result that the lower part of the kiln has been buried, thus obscuring much of its base. The south east face is however partly exposed and the top of two arched openings 1.5m wide are visible. These are the draw holes, which allowed access to the base of the kiln to remove the lime. The current ground level corresponds to the firing level, some 3.5m above the bottom of the kiln. The kiln is exposed on all sides at this level and it measures 5.9 sq m. At the firing level there are two openings on each side an average of 1.3m wide and 1.5m high at the exterior and 0.3m wide and 0.5m high on the inside. These led to chutes through which fuel was fed into the kiln shaft. On the south western and north western sides access to the fireboxes was from the contemporary ground level of the quarry face. Access on the other sides appears to have been from a platform supported by a stone plinth and timbers held in putlog holes, which can be identified around the kiln sides. The top of the kiln is 5.5m above current ground level although it is not clear whether this was the original height. On the top of the kiln there is the circular shaft opening measuring 2m in diameter. The shaft is 6.9m deep and widens towards the bottom where it measures 2.7m in diameter. At the base of the shaft the kiln takes the form of a barrel vaulted chamber aligned north east to south west and measuring 5m by 3.8m. On the south western side of the kiln there is a semi-circular arch the same width as the kiln with a span of 2m which connects the kiln to the ground. On the top of this arch there are eight bolts forming two squares which are interpreted as the mountings for a crane which hoisted limestone and fuel up to the kiln and possibly processed lime away. Processed lime was transported by cart along the Grassington to Pateley Bridge road which lies immediately to the north of the monument. Fumes from the kiln were vented through the shaft top to a stone built flue at the south west side of the arch and carried along the flue to a chimney to the south west. The manner by which fumes were fed to the flue from the shaft top is currently unknown. The flue survives virtually complete for its entire length. It comprises a stone built tunnel 70m in length with a rectangular profile measuring 0.8m wide and 1.4m high. The top is made up of massive limestone blocks up to 0.3m thick and 1m long. In places the flue stands on a plinth up to 4m wide, which was built to carry the flue over uneven ground, formed in part by the earlier quarrying. The chimney is square in plan measuring 3.6m. Similar to the kiln, its fabric is composed of a mixture of limestone and sandstone. It stands to a height of 4.5m although it is not clear whether this was the original height. To the south of the kiln are the ruins of a stone structure built on top of exposed bedrock approximately at the same level as the firing level. The structure measures 12m north to south and 3m east to west. The west wall survives as a revetment against the quarry face some 4m high. The eastern side of the structure appears to have been open. The structure is interpreted as a pair of bunkers possibly for storage of coal. Outside the fenced area, 60m to the south of the chimney, at NGR SE12976428 there is a sub-circular pond measuring 13m across. This was used as a reservoir to provide water to the kiln. The water was fed to the kiln through a cast iron pipe, sections of which are exposed above ground and it is considered that the remainder still survives below ground. The limestone used in the kiln was principally extracted from a large quarry situated immediately to the north east of the kiln. The quarry is rectangular in plan and measures 24m north to south by 22m east to west. The northern and eastern faces are near vertical and stand 7m in height. The eastern side has been obscured by later tipped material. Within the quarry there are distinct working platforms from which the limestone was hewn. Additional smaller quarries in the north east of the monument also provided lime for the kiln. These survive as three clear quarry scoops up to 40m by 18m in plan and 2.4m in depth. Working platforms also survive at these quarries. The quarry was worked by blasting the exposed rock face. There is no evidence of drilling so powder was probably inserted into natural crevices in the quarry face. The explosives used for the blasting were stored in powder houses, the location of these is not known. Access to the kiln was on the north eastern side via a track way from the Grassington to Pateley Bridge road. This track led to the quarry and kiln although its termination has been obscured by later tipped material. There is a level area 8m wide to the south of the kiln which is thought to be a loading and turning area for carts. The remains of the earlier limestone and lead extraction features are located in the western and northern parts of the monument. The south eastern part of the face of the earlier limestone quarry depicted on the 1854 map partly underlies the flue in the western part of the monument. The steeply sloping quarry face some 2.5m high is clearly identifiable. In the northern part of the monument and to the south of the chimney and flue are remains of earlier prospecting pits. These survive as circular and sub-circular earthworks up to 6m in diameter. Some of these features have been truncated by later quarrying but remnants still survive on spurs of unexcavated ground within the quarries. Some of these are interpreted as prospecting pits and workings for lead. The date of the lead excavations is probably mid to late 18th century although they could be as late as the 19th century if the lead vein was exposed in the course of limestone quarrying. Further remains of the lead workings may be obscured by the later lime kiln operations. All fences, signs and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 35475

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cale, K, Toft Gate Limekiln Archaeological Survey, (1999)
Cale, K, Toft Gate Limekiln Archaeological Survey, (1999)
Roe, M, Toft Gate Limekiln, (2002)

End of official listing